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Style spotting at Hay Festival

Posted by Rosalind Jana Oxfam Fashion Blogger

6th Jun 2012

hay festival banner

Hay festival is fantastic - from the buzz in the town's bookshops to the numerous events and speakers that span the ten days. People are gathered together and united by similar passions: for literature, for history, for philosophy, for comedy, for current affairs, for music, for technology. From Stefan Collini to Madeline Miller or Alexandra Shulman, the range of events that I attended have been inspiring, stimulating and often unforgettable. In between the dashes from the festival site and the town (where the also excellent How the Light Gets In festival was taking place), I had the time to capture some of the best outfits of Hay. Apologies in advance to any subjects whose names are wrong/ misspelt/ missing - blame it on a combination of the awful weather, my terrible handwriting and the rain that smudged several notes. Thank you to all of those who agreed to letting me position them, snap away and then take details - it was a pleasure to briefly meet you all. 

Andy was very dapper with his vibrant hand-painted silk tie and a Harris Tweed flatcap that had both just been bought. The overcoat belonged to his grandfather, who had it tailored specially to his measurements - notice the detail of the velvet sections on the collar. Asif's eyes lit up when I mentioned Oxfam, and he mentioned that after losing weight he donated all of his previously owned clothes to Oxfam. I noticed the bright red scarf first, which stood out hugely in the dark walkways of the festival. 

The lovely young women working in the cafe/ bookshop/ acoustic tent at 'How the Light Gets In' festival of philosophy and ideas not only served me the best Chai in Hay, but also looked fabulous. I wanted to spend more time hanging out in the tent, but kept getting distracted by events to attend!

I failed to get this young man's name as I was on my way to an event, but thought that he was similar to a young Jim Morrison - particularly with the leather jacket and curly hair. He quipped that the Hay style was mud, which was hard to disagree with as the sideways rain and blustery wind soaked everyone in sight. Jake and friends (I unfortunately neglected to write down the names of the two girls, both looking great, with one in tweed and the other in florals) were also in the 'How the Light Gets In' tent enjoying the warm drinks and escape from the sodden outdoors. Wellies were a very pragmatic choice at Hay!

I was lucky enough to see Mary Portas as I was making my way into town, and slightly nervously asked her whether she would mind if I took a quick snap. She graciously agreed, and I managed to get a photo despite my camera deciding to play up. Portas is a great advocate of charity shops, and was at Hay to talk about her plans for reviving the British High Street. Osaeloke's jacket was from Uniqlo (I was urged to put it down as being Gucci or another high end label!), and the hat and scarf were not only smart choices for the weather, but also for the outfit. The green lettering behind matching the khaki was a matter of serendipity. As with many of those whose style I captured, I perfected the art of a brisk jog and dodge through the crowds to catch up and ask for permission for a photo. 

My mum looked wonderful as ever (I am biased here, but her personal style is one of the reasons for my own interest in fashion), wearing a leather coat, boots and skirt all from various charity shops. We had just visited a sculpture garden full of the most incredible pieces ranging from wooden faces to twisted spines. It's hardly visible in the photo, but Rachel and Lewis had matching nose rings, and definitely complimented each other in what they were wearing. I saw them again on Saturday, but from too far away to take a photo. Here Rachel's coat is from a charity shop and Lewis's is from Topman. 

Scott and Kevin also looked striking, with Scott's coat belonging to his Grandfather and Kevin's being from French Connection. I unfortunately missed the opportunity to see them perform that evening (I think they are musicians) as I already had tickets to Dylan Moran - who was hilarious, exemplifying observational, shambolic comedy at its best. I noticed Seza on the friday but failed to get a photo, so was thrilled when I saw her again on Saturday. I thought that her use of layering was brilliant, with a dusky pink skirt peeping out right at the bottom. The dress was from a favourite boutique and everything else was vintage.

Blog post written by Rosalind Jana

Oxfam Fashion Blogger

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Headshot of Roz Jana, Oxfam Fashion Blogger